Expansion of Food Cooperative into Small-ScaleWholesale Local Foods Distribution

Project Overview

Project Type: Sustainable Community Innovation
Funds awarded in 2013: $14,910.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Chris Curro
Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market


Not commodity specific


  • Farm Business Management: cooperatives
  • Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems

    Proposal abstract:

    Small to medium sized local wholesale buyers have stated a desire to purchase more local products, but do not consider the current available market channels to be favorable. Local farmers are expanding local production, and need access to additional markets, but are unable to spend thetime needed to both establish and maintain relationships with local wholesale buyers. Mohawk Harvest is a thriving producer and consumer-owned cooperative working with over 50 producers. It has an established network of transportation routes used to efficiently move product from the surrounding farmland to the store, and is confident that it can expand purchasing to also service small and medium wholesale buyers. By organizing a marketing and distribution system for farmers' products we can make the level of convenience competitive with or better than other distributors. Given this level of competitiveness, we are confident that even buyers who have not considered local foods before would be interested in local products, which will be of higher quality than produce shipped from across the country, and of comparable price during the peak of the season. We anticipate increasing our purchasing of local products by $25,000 in 2013 through adoption of this project, and believe that this number will represent the beginning of an upward trend of wholesale local food purchasing, and that this project will serve as a model for other co-ops looking to expand their impact on their local communities.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    See attached logic model for specific dates, task assignments, and expected outcomes.

    **Farmers have been involved in the planning of this proposal, and will be continually consulted through the growing season through in-person interactions each week.

    Dissemination: We will write up a handbook on how to replicate our experience, and this handbook will be available on the SARE website and on our website (Mohawkharvest.org). We will make knowledgeable personnel or board members available to speak at events such as Organic Farming Association conferences, and will be available for one-on-one consultation about the project.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.